HomeSick

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:54 am
By: Doug Lund

It was so nice to see Keloland’s Perry Groten along with assignment editor, Dexter Gronseth, on photographer duty, out to meet Linda and me at the airport upon our arrival home from Hawaii late Friday afternoon. I was only a little disappointed to learn that they weren’t actually there to put us on the news but to chronicle the annual invasion of pheasant hunters flying in from all over the country for the Saturday opener.

Our nine days in the tropical sunshine were great but, even though the cold air was a shock to the system, it’s nice to be home. Unfortunately, home is where Linda and I have both been confined to ever since we got back. No sooner did we get in the house than Linda noticed her head was still plugged as if her body’s automatic air pressure sensor had malfunctioned upon final descent into Sioux Falls. Her ears never popped and her nose began running. “I’m layin’ down,” she said. “The unpacking can wait until tomorrow.” “ I don’t feel so great myself,” said I with a cough that came from my toe nails.  I haven’t stopped coughing since and now my rib cage feels so sore its like having gone 12 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

So, now it is Monday morning and both Linda and I are just starting to feel well enough to try figure out where, when and how we were both blindsided by a bug that got into our systems and simultaneously caused separate but serious cold symptoms to attack with such severity.  This has happened before after long hours of travel involving the tight quarters of fuselages and confined airport gate areas but never to this degree. Perhaps too, it’s Norwegian karma. Every action (yah, sure you tink you’re so great gettin’ to go to Hawaii) there’s an equal opposite reaction. (You’re both gonna get so sick you’ll be stuck in bed while you run out of cough drops, Vicks, Tussin, Kleenex and underwear.)   

At any rate..in the words of Scarlett O’hara, “Tomorrow’s another day.”  So, as promised, and, apparently, at great personal health risk, I’m including a final round of photos from our fabulous Keloland TV/ Holiday Vacations three island tour of Hawaii.  Below is a shot of our Niece, Kimberly who, along with husband, Ryan and kids Toren, Kaia and Kekoa came from their home on Oahu to join us at our hotel for a fun evening of conversation, swimming and dining.

was so great having my niece, Kim..her husband Ryan and their three delightful kids, Toren, Kaia and Kekoa come to our hotel from their home on Oahu for a swim, dinner and visit.

kim and kids

Kaia and Toren enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

Kaia and Toren enjoy a swim in the hotel pool.

 

Maui is still Linda and my favorite Isle.

Maui is still Linda and my favorite Isle.

Not to be missed on Maui; the Iao Valley State Park which includes the Iao Needle a 12 hundred foot moss covered stone spire that rises from the canyon floor.

Not to be missed on Maui; the Iao Valley State Park which includes the Iao Needle a 12 hundred foot moss covered stone spire that rises from the canyon floor.

A few of the girls on tour.

A few of the girls on tour.

The sun actually ducked under the clouds for a few minutes during our visit to the Maui Ocean Center overlooking Ma'alaea Bay before heading to our hotel.

The sun actually ducked under the clouds for a few minutes during our visit to the Maui Ocean Center overlooking Ma’alaea Bay before heading to our hotel.

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This is our view from the restaurant for breakfast. It's open air with swans in the foreground and the Pacific in the background.

This is our view from the restaurant for breakfast. It’s open air with swans in the foreground and the Pacific in the background.

Sparrows, too, have the freedom to fly in and feed off the vacated tables before being shooed away by the staff. There is clearly and quite literally a "pecking order" among the birds. I was curious how they were trained not to poop all over the place but forgot to ask. There were no tell-tale white spots anywhere but that's when I noticed Linda's coffee had creamer in it and she always takes her coffee black. (kidding)

Sparrows, too, have the freedom to fly in and feed off the vacated tables before being shooed away by the staff. There is clearly and quite literally a “pecking order” among the birds. I was curious how they were trained not to poop all over the place but forgot to ask. There were no tell-tale white spots anywhere but that’s when I noticed Linda’s coffee had creamer in it and she always takes her coffee black. (kidding)

Speaking of wild Hawaiian creatures, these guys are everywhere. They were once beloved but are now just annoying because they're constantly asking tourists about saving money on car insurance.

Speaking of wild Hawaiian creatures, these guys are everywhere. They were once beloved but are now just annoying because they’re constantly asking tourists about saving money on car insurance.

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get Shreck, here, to talk or whistle as advertised on the lobby sign but he would only look pretty and prune himself.

I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get Shreck, here, to talk or whistle as advertised on the lobby sign but he would only look pretty and prune (preen) himself.

As I'm trying to get Shreck to speak, a few feet away, Linda is taking in the incredible view.

As I’m trying to get Shreck to speak, a few feet away, Linda is taking in the incredible view.

Of course no Hawaiian Holiday would be complete without a Luau and ours, right at the hotel, was spectacular.

Of course no Hawaiian Holiday would be complete without a Luau and ours, right at the hotel, was spectacular.

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Now… instead of salt water, it’s the aroma of Vicks Vapo Rub wafting up my nose.

But, you know, if I close my eyes I can still see those amazing sunsets, hear the gentle waves unfold onto the sandy shore and feel the warm  breeze brushing against my  face.

Aloha and Ma halo.

 

Hawaii Part Deux

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm
By: Doug Lund

Having trouble getting and staying on-line here at our fabulous hotel resort on the Island of Kauai so while I have the chance I’m going to include some pictures with captions as quickly as possible especially for the families of the folks traveling with us who want to see just what mom and dad are spending the kid’s inheritance  money on.  Let me just say that Kauai appears to be a work in progress. A hurricane slammed the island in 1992 and nearly leveled the place which killed tourism. On top of losing the sugar industry a few years before that, it’s been a tough go. But Kauai has been making a determined comeback and the future looks bright.

Our first stop touring Kauai was the plantation of a former sugar baron.

Our first stop touring Kauai was the plantation of a former sugar baron.

 

Then on to Waimea Canyon. Absolutely stunning.

Then on to Waimea Canyon. Absolutely stunning.

 

It's known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Pictures just don't do it justice. No govt. shutdown here.

It’s known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Pictures just don’t do it justice. No govt. shutdown here.

 

There was a little fruit stand at the canyon where I bought some fresh pine apple. Oooh it's sooo good.

There was a little fruit stand at the canyon where I bought some fresh pine apple. Oooh it’s sooo good.

 

Then it's on to the Kauai Coffee Plantation for a tour and tasting.

Then it’s on to the Kauai Coffee Plantation for a tour and tasting.

 

 

Cora Jones has made her coffee selection to take home.

Cora Jones has made her coffee selection to take home.

Outside the visitor center tourists are invited to sign the plants.

Outside the visitor center tourists are invited to sign the plants.

Our digs for two nights; the Kuaui Beach Resort. This was our room view.

Our digs for two nights; the Kuaui Beach Resort. This was our room view.

The Hawaiian people are beautiful inside and out. Easy with smiles and so refreshingly courteous. These two young ladies helped us get checked in.

The Hawaiian people are beautiful inside and out. Easy with smiles and so refreshingly courteous. These two young ladies helped us get checked in.

Linda hunts for shells in the ocean located just a hundred yards or so from our room. We watched surfers on the horizon for a couple hours.

Linda hunts for shells in the ocean located just a hundred yards or so from our room. We watched surfers on the horizon for a couple hours.

One of those young flat bellied surfer boys finally came in and walked by Linda and a couple other ladies from our tour. He said you have a beautiful view from here.

One of those young flat bellied surfer boys finally came in and walked by Linda and a couple other ladies from our tour. He said you have a beautiful view from here.

Linda said under her breath.." in more ways then one, young man.'

Linda said under her breath..” in more ways then one, young man.’

 

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There was a quick downpour that lasted about 15 minutes which is as typical as feral chickens on this little slice of heaven in the Hawaiian chain known as the garden Island.  Now, it’s off to Maui to wrap up our Pacific Holiday. I’ll have part three later in the week with highlights from our Luau and other Polynesian adventures. As always, wish you could be here with us.

Aloha

Aboard The Mighty Mo

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm
By: Doug Lund
Obligatory sunset shot at Waikiki just across the street from our hotel

Obligatory sunset shot at Waikiki just across the street from our hotel..darn near missed it.

Can you believe it? Sunshine and low 80’s is the forecast here on Waikiki beach, Honolulu Hawaii today. Jay Trobec might like the climate here but he’d be bored to tears working as a meteorologist in Hawaii. The weather doesn’t change much all year round except for an occasional tsunami warning which would scare the poi out of me. Our 7 hour flight from Denver to Honolulu was uneventful..aside from the fact that even though we’re placed aboard a wide body jet, it’s still tough for this wide bodied passenger to get comfortable in the narrow bodied coach pods..especially when crammed into the center section amid a full compliment of children who weren’t too happy about mom and dad pulling them out of daycare for vacation and felt the rest of us needed to hear them complain for the flight’s duration. I found solace in cranking the headsets up high, consuming a couple Bloody Mary’s, closing my eyes and dreaming of the fun days ahead. We have another fine complement of fellow travelers in our group again..quick to laugh and ready to have a good time.

As mentioned in my last blog, I was a little concerned about reaction to the USS Arizona memorial being closed because of the idiotic government shutdown. But, I need not have been. In fact, our back-up plan, a tour of the USS Battleship Missouri, (which is a privately funded memorial) turned out to be, in my opinion, a preferred option.

Tour members ready to board USS Missouri battleship at Pearl Harbor

Tour members ready to board USS Missouri battleship at Pearl Harbor

 

Tour guide briefing on the USS Missouri's forward deck before the big guns

Tour guide briefing on the USS Missouri’s forward deck before the big guns

No one questions what the Arizona represents. In fact, visitors are reminded again and again that it is a grave yard to over a thousand men whose bodies went down with and still rest aboard the ship which was blasted to bits during the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. The entire visitor’s center as well as the memorial over the Arizona’s still visible resting place are somber places; a reminder of how Americans were caught off guard, defeated and dragged into a war few wanted but had no choice but to enter and win.

The USS Missouri, meanwhile, which didn’t enter service until three years after Pearl Harbor, not only helped bring World War II to end fighting at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, it was chosen as the site where the Japanese would eventually sign the articles of surrender on September 2nd 1945 in Tokyo Harbor.

Linda stands by the big guns on the aft deck near, I believe, the spot where a Japanese Kamikaze pilot crashed into the Missouri's side.  Damage wasn't too severe but you can reportedly still see a dent in the side of her hull.

Linda stands by the big guns on the aft deck near, I believe, the spot where a Japanese Kamikaze pilot crashed into the Missouri’s side. Damage wasn’t too severe but you can reportedly still see a dent in the side of her hull…the ship’s not Linda’s.

Hard to believe how small the Missouri's Veranda deck is where the surrender took place.

Hard to believe how small the Missouri’s Veranda deck is where the surrender took place.

Now, the Missouri, which went on to fight in Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm, floats proudly at its mooring pier on Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row; a tourist attraction located just a few hundred yards from the Arizona Memorial. It’s amazing to think that within that short distance you can find the exact spots where America entered World War II and where America and its Allies ended it. One is a place of solemn reflection and reverence, the other is a place of victory over the oppressor, satisfaction and pride.

I don’t mind telling you that standing there on the precise spot of the Missouri’s Veranda deck where the surrender was signed, I got a little choked up with feelings of patriotism and gratitude. I think all of those who are responsible for the current government shutdown should pay a visit to Battleship Row.

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Realizing that the govt. shutdown would disappoint millions of tourists, tour guides of the USS Missouri put together a dramatic presentation of the attack on Pearl Harbor from just off the Missouri's bow with the Arizona's memorial in the background. Linda was the presenter and she held the audience spellbound.

Realizing that the govt. shutdown would disappoint millions of tourists, tour guides of the USS Missouri put together a dramatic presentation of the attack on Pearl Harbor from just off the Missouri’s bow with the Arizona’s memorial in the background. The presenter named Linda gave an amazing presentation leaving the audience spellbound.

 

Because the USS Missouri is moored on Ford Island, tourists have never gotten this perspective of Battleship Row before.

Because the USS Missouri, where I’m taking this photo,  is moored on Ford Island, tourists have never gotten this perspective of Battleship Row before. Easy pickin’s for Japanese torpedo planes. The Arizona memorial is 3rd in line

I was concerned too that we weren’t going to be allowed to go through the National memorial cemetery located in an extinct volcano known as the Punchbowl. But we were fine as long as our bus didn’t stop.

The view of Honolulu from Punchbowl crater.

The view of Honolulu from Punchbowl crater.

 

A little blurry but that larger monument by the tree on the right is for Ernie Pyle the beloved war journalist and illustrator killed just before the war ended on Iwo Jima.

A little blurry but that larger monument by the tree on the right is for Ernie Pyle the beloved war journalist and illustrator killed just before the war ended on Iwo Jima.

 

The national cemetery is for all those who fought in the pacific and their families. It's now full.

The national cemetery is for all those who fought in the pacific and their families. It’s now full.

Our first full day on Oahu was sensory overload. Just too many beautiful things to see, hear, taste and smell. It’s hard not to keep using the word paradise to describe Hawaii  but I will try.  Just go ahead and find your own adjectives to describe some of the images I’ve assembled below.

 

Built in 1926, The Aloha Tower used to be Hawaii's tallest structure. Now it's dwarfed by the high rise hotels and other buildings.

Built in 1926, The Aloha Tower used to be Hawaii’s tallest structure. Now it’s dwarfed by the high rise hotels and other buildings.

 

Along the windward side of Oahu. Screen saver worthy vistas around ever bend.

Along the windward side of Oahu. Screen saver worthy vistas around ever bend.

tatue of King Kamehameha outside the palace. Our guide says the only king left in Hawaii today is Burger King.
Tried to time the blow hole for maximum spurt but it's like leading a duck and was too late or far ahead. You can see a little puff dead center.

Tried to time the blow hole for maximum spurt but it’s like leading a duck and was too late or far ahead. You can see a little puff dead center.

Mush drier on the leeward side. Members of our group head back to the coach and a return to Honolulu.

Mush drier on the leeward side. Members of our group head back to the coach and a return to Honolulu.

 

The view from our hotel is not exactly facing the ocean but you can see it from there.

The view from our hotel is not exactly facing the ocean but you can see it from there.

 

So proud of Linda who is afraid of heights, willing to sit on our balcony. She does need a drink first, though.

So proud of Linda who is afraid of heights, willing to sit on our balcony. She does need a drink first, though.

 

Wonderful Hawaiian music at the hotel. The bass player used to work with Don Ho and the young lady is the granddaughter of one of Hawaii's most famous singers Genoa Keawe.

Wonderful Hawaiian music at the hotel. The bass player used to work with Don Ho and the young lady is the granddaughter of one of Hawaii’s most famous singers Genoa Keawe.

We move on to Kauai in the morning. It promises to be even more lush but especially more quiet. It will be nice to get away from the hubbub and noise of Honolulu.

Aloha.

Aloha

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm
By: Doug Lund

Like most every American, I’m really ticked off about this federal government shutdown. It’s an embarrassment to the country and an unnecessary hardship on hundreds of thousands..perhaps millions..of people caught in the middle.  But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been directly affected by it at all until now; and I’m not going to get much sympathy from you good folks when I tell you how.

You see, Linda and I leave Wednesday hosting another Keloland/Holiday Vacations tour; this time to Hawaii. We have had the pleasure of visiting the Islands twice before and are looking forward to traveling with a group of nearly 40 others from the Keloland viewing area who signed up to go with us. For a lot of those people, this has been a life long dream; one they’ve spent years saving up for.

arizona mariott

Oh, most everything about this paradise that is our 50th state will be the same.  When we arrive, lovely brown skinned Hawaiian ladies in grass skirts will still meet us at the airport with a smile, an Aloha greeting and a lovely wreath of local fragrant flowers to place around our necks. There will be gentle ukulele music in the background as we check in to our high rise Honolulu hotel with a balcony facing Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head off to our left. We’ll enjoy an umbrella beverage as we gaze down on the emerald Pacific waters with waves carrying surfers to shore.

But, thanks to those jackasses in Washington D.C., (pick a party to blame) our scheduled trip to Pearl Harbor and the Battleship Arizona National Memorial along with a tour of the National Memorial Cemetery honoring Americans who fought in the Pacific, won’t be happening much to the disappointment of many in our group who I know really wanted to experience it.

Tourists returning to buses after learning that the USS Arizona Memorial is closed because of the government shutdown.

Tourists returning to buses after learning that the USS Arizona Memorial is closed because of the government shutdown.

I really feel bad for them and also for Holiday Vacations, who really are stand-up folks, and have so many tours across the country that involve National Parks and monuments who are now left scrambling to come up with satisfying alternatives. It sounds like they’ve arranged for us to tour the famous battleship Missouri which is docked at Pearl Harbor. It was on that ship that the Japanese surrendered to General Douglas Macarthur ending World War II.  That’s certainly some consolation and should be very interesting. Still, it’s just a damn shame. But, you know,  it has been our experience after hosting so many of these tours that there is truly such a thing as “South Dakota nice” among the people who travel with us; a “go with the flow” attitude  which I envy. Anyway, maybe those blockheads in Washington will come to their senses in the next couple days and end this stalemate that, according to the latest CBS poll, 72 of Americans are fed up with. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. My nose, yes.

Anyway, as usual, I’ll post a few photos and share some stories of our Polynesian adventure right here on the blog over the next week and a half. I hope you can travel along with us next time.

The shutdown will surely be over by then won’t it?

A Little Dead In Deadwood

Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 9:51 am
By: Doug Lund

Greetings from the Bullock Hotel in Downtown Deadwood. Hey, we’re not just staying here, we’ve got the third floor left center room; the one that faces main street. The one that people use to center their camera shots when taking pictures of this historic building built by Seth Bullock back in the late 1800’s.

The Bullock Hotel lovingly restored to look just the way Seth built it.

The Bullock Hotel lovingly restored to look just the way Seth built it.

 

This is how the hotel looked in the 1800's when new. Our room is just left of the balcony on the 3rd floor

This is how the hotel looked in the 1800′s when new. Our room is just left of the balcony on the 3rd floor

Linda and I have been thinking how funny it would be if we were to dress up in bed sheets and each stand in the tall windows waving our arms satisfying all those picture taking tourists outside who have heard and want to believe that the Bullock is haunted.  The stories have been going around for years that the spirit of Seth himself floats around the premises having some playful spooky fun with the guests and chastising hotel employees who are loafing on the job. The hotel staff  goes right along with it and counts the incidents all part of the inn’s charm. On our last visit here a couple years ago, our friend Joanie swears that a hand brushed across her leg in bed during the night and it wasn’t her sleeping husband Denny next to her. Then while watching a football game on TV, we all heard a knock on the door but when Joanie answered there was nobody there. We, of course, dismissed it as guests next door but she was not convinced.
We all arrived back here at the Bullock on Saturday evening and made it through the night without a single supernatural incident. On Sunday, we decided to watch the Vikings game in our room. So, as we were mixing up a cocktail to either drown our anticipated sorrows or celebrate a royal victory, we heard a definite knock at the door. Joanie went to answer and, again, THERE WAS NO ONE OUTSIDE! She looked around at Linda and me and I swear you could see her face turn white as her jaw dropped. That’s when we could hear Denny giggling from around the corner. He’d sneaked out to get some snacks from their room and decided to have a little fun on his return. It was a beautiful thing to behold and I was so proud of my friend for pulling it off.

Seth Bullock, himself, apparently enjoyed a good joke. That is if you consider ridin’ around the streets of  Washington D.C. with a bunch of his cowboy buddies ropin’ negroes funny.  South Dakota Magazine has the story in its latest issue about how Bullock became palzie walzie with Theodore Roosevelt way back when Teddy needed to find himself after going through a rough patch in his personal life . He came out to the Dakotas where he bumped into Bullock and the two soon learned to respect and admire each other.  Years later when Roosevelt became president, he invited Seth and his buddies to come to Washington and ride their horses in the inaugural parade. Apparently the boys  arrived early enough to take full advantage of their old west persona with the local urbanites and found great sport ridin’ up and down the streets of D.C. even lassoing some of the black young people who ran alongside the mounted band of hooligans. Some prim and proper Washingtonians wanted the whole wild bunch locked up but when word reached Mr. Roosevelt he basically excused their behavior as boys letting off a little steam and that was that.

Seth-Bullock-and-Theodore-Roosevelt

A lot of the stories we’ve heard about characters with ties to Deadwood are just that; stories.. perpetuated by Hollywood. The most recent HBO series “Deadwood” portrayed this one-time gold mining camp in all its raw unfiltered ugliness; Some truth. Some fiction. Seth Bullock’s character, for example, was mostly in the latter category. In fact, Bullock didn’t even arrive in Deadwood until the day after Wild Bill Hickok was murdered during a card game.

I think the show did have a positive effect on tourism but that has long since worn off and it’s getting tough for all these casino saloons to survive year round in downtown Deadwood. Unless there’s an event going on (like Octoberfest coming up) things get pretty quiet this time of year which is fine by me but it’s sad to see places like Miss Kitty’s which occupied three store fronts and the Chinatown Restaurant upstairs closed and most of the Gold Dust which took up a half dozen or more store fronts across the street is also shut down.

A couple views from our window.

A couple views from our window.

 

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I don’t know what it’s going to take to bring new life to Downtown Deadwood. Maybe old Seth himself is going to have to make a more tangible appearance like that zombie whose ear falls off in the Sprint commercial.

To be honest, I am a little disappointed at not having a single apparition to talk about this time except there is one thing that seems a bit odd. I almost called down to the front desk at 3 a.m. to report that someone in the room above us must have a stuck toilet because the water keeps running. Then I remembered WE ARE ON THE TOP FLOOR!

Seth?? Just jiggle the handle.

I Don’t Have Colon Cancer

Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm
By: Doug Lund

If I hear my doctor try talk me into having a colonoscopy one more time I’m going to ……I’m going to …..well, have one I guess.

Yup, I finally relented when, during my last check up, he found my excuses to be especially flimsy IE: I think I’d be the first to know if something was wrong with my own plumbing. There’s no history of colon cancer in my family. Besides, we Norwegians are a modest bunch and I would likely die of embarrassment if I had to bare my ass under mercury vapor lights in front of a crowd of men and women wearing masks armed with a mile-long length of hose that had a  camera and a snipper affixed on the end of it.

Full disclosure here, I’m planning some minor surgery in November and for Medicare to pick up the tab I’m required to have a colonoscopy..so Tuesday was my first experience of being “in” TV instead of on it. But, let’s start at the beginning.

“Whaddya want for your last meal.” Linda said after church on Sunday.

“Geeze I wish you’d put that a little differently.” I said nervously.

“You know what I mean. You’re the one who was only going to eat once today so you wouldn’t have so much inside your system to, you know, evacuate the premises tomorrow.”

“Ah, yes. Well, let it be your delicious Swiss steak then.”

In savoring every scrumptious bite, I did what dietitians have been advocating forever: eat slower!  In so doing, I resisted the temptation for a second helping and by 2pm my last meal was finished leaving plenty of time to get down to some serious fretting..first about the Vikings blowing another lead (which they were more than happy to oblige) and then about preparing for the great gut flush which must precede any Roto Rooter procedure.

We’ve had the infamous prep kit in our possession for a couple weeks; a gallon-size plastic jug with a pre-measured amount of highly explosive diuretic powder already inside. Just fill with water, shake well and refrigerate. Also taped to the jug were four flavor packets which apparently transform the taste of this reputedly vile liquid from something akin to gym towel squeezin’s into a quite palatable fruity beverage like strawberry, cherry or lemonade.  I chose the pineapple option.

Although I had a jump start on my fast, Monday morning was the first real reminder of the sacrifice that lay ahead. Coffee WITHOUT creamer. Oh, my.  By Noon, I’d grown weary of ice water and diet 7 Up. The sheet says I can have BROTH…nothing brown so that leaves chicken, I guess. All we have is chicken bullion so I heat up two cups of water and throw in a couple tablespoons of the powdered bullion as directed. I like salt but this was like drinking boiling hot sea water. Rechecked the directions. Ah ha..it says two level TEAspoons of powder. I drank it anyway but cut way back on the next couple of batches and it was okay. It would have been a lot better with soda crackers but at least it was a refreshing change from the bland sweetness of all the plain pop. 4:00 pm arrives. Time to take the two mild laxative pills. Wash them down with another full glass of water. Shake body from side to side..sounds like the wave machine at Wild Water West. 4:30 pm. Take one of two pills prescribed for anticipated nausea. Oh God.

5:00pm. I have the entire evening  to down half the bottle of pineapple juice..at least that’s how I’m imagining it. To achieve my goal, I’m using a 16 ounce red Solo cup like the one Toby Keith sang about a couple years ago only I wasn’t preparing to party but to potty.  I really couldn’t tell you for sure if I tasted even the slightest hint of pineapple as I gulped it straight down but it did seem to have a distinct ammonia finish. Anyway, I got through the first half and when nearing completion of the concoction on the morning of D-Day (The invasion) I was seriously thinking we should have put a seat belt on the toilet for I felt close to achieving lift off at any second.  Upon arriving at Medical Building 3 with Linda by my side and giving the receptionist my birthday and insurance information for the 68th time, we were told to have a seat and wait with the other blank-faced empty boweled people in the room. That’s when I felt that little tell tale gurgle from deep within. Oh, no..there can’t be anything left but sure enough, at least one more stop was necessary. I’m sure I looked like Tim Conway doing the old man on the Carol Burnett Show as I shuffled to the rest room for, what I hoped was the final emptying. I could see from the others that they knew exactly what I was going through.  By the time I finally got situated in a room, nurse Carolyn was quite impressed that a man of my age had never had a colonoscopy before but especially never been hospitalized at all since springing to life in 1946. She proceeded to ask the same questions I’ve been answering to every other person involved in my medical history for months. But rules are rules, blah blah blah. Anyway, I had a stress test done a few years ago and they gave me one of those open-back gowns that’s supposed to be one size fits all. Well, I am not in that ALL category and had to parade around the 5th floor of Medical Building 2 from exam room to exam room with my ample ass hanging free in the breeze because there was no one..nay not even a professional Victorian Era corset tightener who could have pulled those back strings together enough to conceal my big bum and spared me unnecessary embarrassment. So when I saw the gown on my bed and was told to disrobe and put it on, I mentioned the unfortunate humiliation from the past and Carolyn immediately ordered the largest in stock.  I’m very glad Linda left her camera in the car and all hospital personnel are sworn to secrecy because Barnum & Bailey could have put two of their three circus rings under there with me and still had room for a few clowns.

Finally, after Carolyn found a vein to draw a little blood and insert the anesthesia it was time for two strong young nurses to wheel their heavy load into the operating room. After being instructed to lay on my left side, I don’t remember much of anything until being back in the room with Linda telling me everything was good..just three polyps safely removed and a nurse saying that the doctor had shot a blast of air up my backside and she wasn’t leaving and neither was I until she heard it come back out. You mean fart? I said. I don’t even do that in front of my wife. So Linda, at my request, left the room and I pushed and I pushed and well, let’s just say I’m home.

I guess this is supposed to be one of those Public Service Announcements about getting a colonoscopy if you’re over 50. Don’t wait as long as I did.  So, for what it’s worth. It really wasn’t that bad and I’m really glad I had it done and don’t have any cancer up there.

Now, my doctor keeps harping about getting a shingles shot.

Good Lord will this ever end?

One of my favorite humorists, Dave Barry, says the doctor that did his colonoscopy has heard the following from his patients over the years:

“Take it easy Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before.”

“Hey, now I know how a Muppet feels.”

“You used to be an executive at Enron didn’t you?”

And my favorite:

“Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?”

Welcome!

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 11:41 am
By: Doug Lund
I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Lund

I’m ready for my close-up Mr. Lund

 

I thought perhaps we could all use a shot of Brandy on this somber day.(September 11th) Brandy, in this case, is our granddog: a 9 year old Shih Tzu who comes under our care for a couple weeks each year and makes me go through these annual yearnings for a dog of our own. I express these desires to my wife, who also loves Brandy’s visits, but who correctly points out the impracticality of pet ownership when we’re gone so much; the unfairness of it all to the poor animal and how we can’t be asking friends and family to be doggysitting every time we get a chance to host a two week tour somewhere or decide to spend January in Arizona or want to take off with Denny and Joanie for a long weekend road trip.

Still, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of when Brandy jumps up on the bed and snuggles in your armpit overnight or lets you pet her head through an entire football game on TV.

Of course Linda didn’t find anything too romantic yesterday about taking a long walk with Brandy who seemed to have been saving up a week’s worth of #2’s for this particular outing; steamy little projectiles that used to be considered fine fertilizer for lawns but now anger homeowners who regard them as extremely offensive effluvia that turn lawn mowers into manure spreaders. She had to delicately finagle the plastic bag she was legally obliged to carry along in such a way as to scoop up the excrement without coming in contact with her sensitive skin.

She said, upon her return to the house, “It was okay at first, but Brandy felt the need to stop, squat and lay a log in somebody’s yard for three straight blocks.”

Then, last night, Brandy curled up on Linda’s side of the bed and..well, I may have another shot at making my case. We’ll see.  I might have to call Tom Gunlicks, my dog whisperer Facebook friend, for some advice and boarding rates.

 

As most of you have heard, Keloland News made this past week what I think was a brilliant move; hiring Kevin Woster to fill the vacancy in our Rapid City news bureau.

Kevin Woster Keloland News

Kevin Woster
Keloland News

I won’t go into detail about how Kevin became available for employment after long stretches with both the Sioux Falls Argus leader and the Rapid City Journal. It’s all on the web. The point is, we got him which means Keloland News has on its payroll one of the most seasoned journalists in the state with expertise in government at all levels, the great outdoors, sports, music, feature reporting..on and on. Plus Kevin will bring a whole new dimension to our already top rated website with his nose for news, his long list of sources, and the respect he has from his years of experience and preparation.

I know in this business one might think we all know each other but, aside from being Facebook friends, Kevin and I are basically only acquainted through mutual admiration.

I have been a big fan of all three Woster Brothers since first meeting Jim the elder back in 1972. I loved the way he felt so at ease doing the livestock markets on TV and radio entertaining even those of us who didn’t give a rip about the sale price on a load of black baldy cattle from Puckwana.  Jim and I have been good pals for nearly 40 years now. There’s not a better man on the planet. Well, maybe his brother Terry Woster could qualify. I didn’t know Terry as well, but have let him know on several occasions that he, along with another former Argus Leader alum, Kim Ode, have been a great influence on my career and inspired me to be a better writer. Of course, all the Woster boys are so self effacing, they’ll just say “ah shucks” to a compliment and then go back to writing something brilliant.

I really hadn’t read that much of Kevin’s stuff until I started blogging myself and then quickly realized that he had drunk from the same well on that Lyman County farm near Reliance.

Oh, yeah, Kevin has been a prolific political blogger with the Journal’s Mt. Blogmore and I understand he plans to continue blogging on Keloland.com which means I better make like Brandy and get my poop in a group in order to keep up.

Welcome again, Kevin.

God Wants Tebow To Be A Viking

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm
By: Doug Lund

Even if it is a clear sign that winter can’t be far behind, I’m looking forward to the NFL season getting underway this week.

Again, I have no high expectations for my Minnesota Vikings because the Vikings hierarchy apparently has no high expectations for the team either.

While we have a semi-stellar defense and the greatest running back in the league, the most important position on the team will still be occupied by a lightweight  in my opinion.

Instead of recruiting an experienced quality big name quarterback, we’re being Minnesota “nice” and sticking with Christian Ponder hoping that he’ll come around eventually  maybe even throw a pass to a guy on the same team farther than 20 yards downfield .  To back him up, we have Matt Cassel who enjoyed a stint of fame with the Patriots when Tom Brady went down and the Kansas City Chiefs when Brady got well where he eventually melted into a sea of interceptions and boos from fans before hightailing it to Minnesota where many has-beens have been known to go to die.

Still, I’d rather see Cassel take the first snap of the season than Mr. Ponder. But what do I know? I’m still puzzled and PO’d that NFL coaches couldn’t or wouldn’t  find a place for Tim Tebow..a true Christian whom I’d like to see with the Vikings. Now just a minute, hear me out.

tebow

This young man, considered by many to be the greatest college football player of all time, allegedly  just couldn’t be trained to make it in the pros.  Oh really? This kid has already proven himself in the pros hasn’t he? During his brief career beginning with Denver, Tebow started the last three games of his rookie season and became the team’s full-time starting quarterback in the sixth game of 2011. The Broncos were 1–4 before he became the starter, but began winning with him on the field, often coming from behind late in the fourth quarter until they won their first AFC West title and first playoff game since 2005, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.

And what was the Bronco’s reward for  Tim Tebow’s  performance? A trade..instigated by John Elway for Payton Manning..sending Tebow to the Jets where he was humiliatingly buried in the roster. Tebow’s reaction?  “I’ll work hard and do the best I can for my team.”  His reward from the foul mouthed Jets head coach, Rex Ryan? Embarrassing treatment and minimum play followed by a  trade after the trade deadline. An evil move which virtually assured that Tim Tebow had little chance of being picked up by another team. Oh, the Patriots made a gesture but decided after an exhibition game that it didn’t matter what Tebow had done in the past, he was useless and had no business in professional football.

Amazing. All this is based on WHAT?     Practice and exhibition play.

Where has Tim Tebow proved his metal?

In the actual Game. When the chips are down. He finds a way to overcome and find victory.

Yet no coach..no owner.. NOT ONE will take a chance on him even though they’ve seen the intangible gift he possesses for winning with their own eyes.

Hey Lund are you saying God is on Tim Tebow’s side?

Well, I can’t help but think of the Oscar winning movie from 1981, “Chariots of Fire”, in which Eric Liddell of Scotland, a devout Christian and outstanding athlete, was ostracized  for refusing to run on Sunday during the 1924 Olympic games in Paris. He went on to compete as an underdog in the 400 meter race carrying a note handed to him with the scripture from 1st Samuel which said “those who honor me I will honor.”  When he won, the theater audience cheered just as crowds at the Olympics did some fifty years earlier. Yet when Tebow takes a knee to give thanks to God in public for his strength and success, he’s scorned by many for wearing his Christianity on his sleeve.  There’s one way to settle this once and for all, of course.  And that’s for some team to bring Tebow aboard and START him at the position he was born to play…quarterback.

But even the Jacksonville Jaguars owner who is known for his outgoing personality, crazy promotions and losing franchise, seems blind to the possibilities of what Tim Tebow could mean to his struggling team  both on the field and at the gate.

So, sadly,  it’s unlikely that Tebow will wind up with my Vikings either. After all, how could a team like the Vikings ever find success with a quarterback that scrambles around in the backfield like a scared jackrabbit?

Oh, yeah. There was this guy.

tebow fran

 

 

Hot Hot Hot

Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 7:07 am
By: Doug Lund

How odd.

I’m watching TV the last several nights and that familiar weather crawl comes scrolling across the bottom of the screen announcing school closings all across Keloland. What the heck is going on? Did I fall into some sort of  Rip Van Winkle-like slumber and suddenly its wintertime; with blizzards keeping our kids homebound?

Nope.

Schools are curtailing their hours or not opening at all because it’s too darned hot.

Here we are at the end of August when visions of cool nights, apple cider, pumpkin patches and State Fair trips are dancing in our heads. Instead..we get this late surge of Hell; a cruel uninvited visitor who shows up on the heels of our violent spring in which ice and wind combined to ruin our trees and sour our dispositions about living in this country where tolerable weather is such a premium.

I remember squirming and being uncomfortable in the classroom as a kid but it had more to do with uncompleted homework or pop quizzes than hot humid days and schools without air conditioning.  Besides, back then, schools started when they were supposed to: on the Monday after Labor Day.

I got to thinking about how hot is too hot?

So far as I can recall from my youth, nothing was ever called off due to the heat. Cub Becker still phoned the house looking for me to haul hay bales at a dollar an hour. It didn’t matter if Bert Getz announced on KBRK radio that temperatures could hit a hundred. Uncle Johnny still needed help picking rocks on his east eighty. Harry Prendergast was still holding football practice at the high school field and mom would still fire up the stove to cook a big supper.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated the heat back then as I do now it’s just that we weren’t constantly reminded how dangerous it was; staying hydrated and all that.  Plus, we had no choice but to grin and bear it. Only a few folks in town had one of those buzzing metal boxes projecting from a window that meant cold air was being delivered on the other side. Usually it was at the house of an old couple who’d never invite a kid indoors to cool off anyway.  The drug store was our only oasis on Main Street but, you couldn’t just go in there all the time and hang out. You either bought something or got the stink eye from owner Dwayne Tupper.

A small, green oscillating fan was the only air conditioning in the Lund home and there was many a time after mowing or some other task on a scorcher of a day, I’d plant myself in front of that thing until all the perspiration had evaporated from my face leaving a salty residue behind.  I wonder if Google might have a picture of what ours looked like. Well, I’ll be darned.

vintage-GE-fan-General-Electric-oscillating-retro

Mom used to warn us boys not to get our fingers anywhere close to the metal blades of that fan so, of course, my brother Denny had to demonstrate how he could stop it without injury. That may have been what burned up the motor forcing my dad to buy a higher priced but much more effective box fan that you could actually put in the window to suck-in cool night air.

We’ve all done this: think about the worst job on an excruciatingly hot day?  Usually, being a roofer would be in the top three. Well, guess who’s having their roof shingled this week.

 

These are the hardy guys from James Roofing who luckily have some shade on this section and wisely take lots of water and rest breaks.

These are the hardy guys from James Roofing who luckily have some shade on this section and wisely take lots of water and rest breaks.

 

Even plus size guys shed their shirts on days like this and use a shingle to hide behind if some idiot wants to take your picture.

Even plus size guys shed their shirts on days like this and use a shingle to hide behind if some idiot wants to take your picture.

My kid brother, Tom, is coming home this week and hoping to play some golf with his brothers while here. He’s in very good shape..plus he’s been living in South Carolina for the last few years and become familiar with the kind of heat and humidity that has befallen Keloland. It’s going to be disappointing; I’m sure when I tell him that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than try to play golf in heat like this. I would start the round in a golf cart and leave in an ambulance.

Maybe we can go hang out at the drug store.

A Night At The Races

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm
By: Doug Lund

I’ve been a fan of auto racing since my dad took us to the races at some small dirt track near Lake Poinsett when I was a little kid. During my two years living in Pierre, I never missed a Sunday night at Oahe Speedway..even tried my hand at it ONCE. A guy I worked with at the Red Owl grocery store talked me into going hav-sies on an old 1949 Ford racer that was well past its prime. The rules were pretty lax back then and even though the safety officials just shook their head in disbelief when we towed this heap up for inspection, they still let us on the track.

I had been pretty confident from watching up in the grandstand that I could outdrive most of those guys..but when it came my turn to line up and actually take the green flag I was scared spitless and finished dead last..so far back that I pulled off before the race ended out of embarrassment. I put my half of the car up for sale the very next week.

After moving back to Sioux Falls, I was a regular at Huset’s Speedway for a while but lost interest when they started fastening those metal awnings atop the open wheel sprint cars and demoted stock cars to peon status.

Linda and my enthusiasm has been peaked again, though, thanks to Craig Hanisch..son-in-law of our good friends, Denny and Joan Graves.  Craig began driving demolition derbies when he was a teenager..then graduated to stock cars and recently chalked up the record for most wins by any driver at his home track; I-90 Speedway just outside of Hartford. Several years ago, Craig moved from hobby stock to street stocks and has not only been tearing up the Hartford track but Huset’s too. In fact,  just last weekend, he drove his number 45 to victory in the feature race at Huset’s Speedway for the fourth time this season.

After giving up a big lead due to a late race caution, Craig Hanisch managed to fend off the contenders and take the checkered flag.

After giving up a big lead due to a late race caution, Craig Hanisch managed to fend off all contenders and take the checkered flag.

 

Another trophy and another kiss from the trophy girls.

Another trophy and another kiss from the trophy girls.

Craig’s success behind the wheel has not come without considerable sacrifice. Although he has rounded up several sponsors, it’s still a very expensive sport. He and his lovely wife, Kristin (Denny and Joan’s daughter) have had to pass on many of life’s luxuries so money could be put back into the race car for it to stay competitive . But Kristin has never flinched in support of her guy who she’s known since middle school. She rarely misses a race and other drivers have come to expect and appreciate her appearance on the infield where she passes out cookies, brownies or some other treat she’s baked up for them.

Craig gets congratulations from his number one fan, wife Kristin.

Craig gets congratulations from his number one fan, wife Kristin.

 

It's a good thing the feature race ended when it did.

It’s a good thing the feature race ended when it did.

 

Number 45' rear tire went flat when he stopped to pick up the winner's trophy.

Number 45′s rear tire went flat when he stopped to pick up the winner’s trophy.

Kristen realizes, of course, that this is a very dangerous sport and she worries constantly every time  Craig straps himself into the seat, the green flag drops and those big engines roar to life. He’s had his share of accidents too over the years but walked away from most of them. So, Kristin holds her anxiety in check because she also appreciates all the positive things that racing has brought to her family. Their two grown sons, Brandon and Beau, are terrific kids who not only adore their dad but are usually down in the pits getting their hands dirty working on the car helping him to victory or offering consolation in times of defeat.

Racing is in son Beau's blood too. But as a pit man. Preferring to leave the drving to dad.l

Racing is in son Beau’s blood too. But as a pit man. Preferring to leave the driving to dad.

Craig Hanisch is a nice guy. Just ask anybody. But his persona does change on race night when it’s all business. His focus is on crossing that finish line first and beating the other guys fair and square. That’s exactly what he did on Sunday night as Kristin, Beau, Denny, Joanie, Linda and I all sat together in one of the VIP booths that my friend, Kevin Kjergaard let us use. As Craig gradually maneuvered from fourth to first we were all screaming at the top of our lungs so loud that people way down in the grandstand were looking back wondering what was going on. When he took the checkered flag and pulled up to victory lane to accept yet another trophy..well, we were all hugging and high fiving.. relishing the moment right along with him.

Later we all went down on the infield to share our  joy and congratulations with Craig himself who, by then, had taken off his game face and returned to the modest..and reluctant..hero we know him to be.

Blurry, I know, but Joanie and Denny couldn't wait to congratulate their son in law, Craig, after the races.

Blurry, I know, but Joanie and Denny couldn’t wait to congratulate their son in law, Craig in the pits.

What a great night at the races!

It made me almost wish I could give it another try.

Linda???  Would you mind if I……

Care to see what a street stock race looks and sounds like from Craig’s perspective. Check out this video of him driving Huset’s last season. YouTube Preview Image